- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living»
- Household Expenses
Thermostat Settings that Save Money While Keeping You Warm and Comfortable This Winter
Optimal Thermostat Settings to Stay Warm without Going Broke
Heating bills can be costly during the winter, and we want to be frugal and preserve energy as much as possible. But you also want to be able to be comfortable, and have the energy to do things that will make you money. How do you find the right balance?
You can save money on your utility bills by taking some simple steps to prepare for winter. The first step is to insulate the house. You can install weather stripping, and have insulation in your attic, and wrap your heating and water pipes. You can install plastic on your windows if they leak air. This will help use our energy efficiently.
Bring out the warm sweaters and put away the summer clothing. Putting away shorts and t-shirts is especially important if you have children, who might be in the mood to wear shorts simply because they are available. Smaller children may need pajamas with feet if they tend to kick off the covers. I place throw rugs on my hardwood floors in strategic places to give myself a warm place to step, and my dog a warm place to take a nap. I also use socks and slippers to keep my feet warm.
The other step is to install a programmable thermostat and use the settings to help save money on energy bills and still keep comfortable in the winter months. Some people believe that it costs more money to heat the home back up than it does to keep it cool. This is not true. The longer the house stays at the cooler temperature, the more money you will save.
Suggested Thermostat Settings
By programming the thermostat to effectively monitor the temperature in the house, you can keep comfortable and save money on your utility bills at the same time. Most thermostats give you a variety of options for setting. Of course you want to keep the house warm during the day and keep it cooler during the night while you are sleeping under blankets. But there are ways you can fine-tune setting your thermostat to save even more money.
The same thought process will take place for the weekends, but the times and activities will differ depending on your lifestyle. Before touching the thermostat, sit down and consider your day-to-day activities and make a list of the preferred times and temperatures throughout the day.
You know that you would like the house to be warm when you wake up, so you want to set the thermostat to start heating just before the first person wakes up.
Then you will want to keep it at that temperature until you go to work. If everyone is away from home during the day at school and work, the thermostat can be lowered during that time period.
Home from Work and School
When the first person returns home, that person will want to be comfortable, so you want to increase the heat for his or her comfort.
During the day, the sun is coming in the windows, and people are generally active. In the evening, the sun has set, and people are resting. I like to increase the thermostat a couple of degrees for this short time period. This makes me more willing to keep the temperature cooler during the day. On days that the sun is not shining, or I am not feeling well, I allow myself to temporarily raise the thermostat setting a couple of degrees. There are not many of these days, and if I give myself permission to raise the temperature when needed, I find that I generally leave the temperature alone much of the time.
During the night, you will be sleeping under warm blankets and quilts. The temperature can be lowered during this time period. Since it will take time for the house to cool, you can set the thermostat to this temperature about an hour before you normally go to bed. I find that the lowering of the temperature also serves as a signal that it is time for bed, making it easier to go to bed on time.
Millionaire Tips Additional Suggestions
- Use ceiling fans to blow down the heat. Be sure to change the setting so the air is blowing down, otherwise you will be cooling the room.
- Space heaters can be used for particularly drafty rooms, or for people who are particularly cold.
What Temperature Settings Should You Use?
When you try to save too much on energy, people in the house will be uncomfortable. I feel like I am getting sick, and my body starts to ache when I am cold. This can lead to stress and fighting. It is also dangerous especially for infants, children, pets, and the elderly, who can get hypothermia and other health problems in low settings. Remember also that leaving the heat too low can burst pipes.
The optimal thermostat setting is 68° when you are at home. Most people are comfortable in the 65-72° F range, and you will want to adjust that number to meet your health needs and lifestyle. When you are sleeping or away from home, 55-60° F is the optimal thermostat setting.
Once you have come up with the times and temperatures, you can go ahead and program your thermostat accordingly. Try lower temperatures, and if they are not comfortable, raise them up one degree at a time until you find a setting that is comfortable for you. Each degree makes a big difference in your energy savings.
It is possible to stay warm this winter and still save money. By using the outlined suggestions, and programming your thermostat to the optimal thermostat settings, you can save money on your utility bills while remaining comfortable in your home.